Last week I interviewed a woman named Katy Perry. In late June her single "I Kissed A Girl" was the #1 song in the country, I think: I mean, there are now so many different charts and whatnot, who knows what the real #1 is. Plus, I never saw the cassingle for the song anywhere, so I couldn't tell you what physical presence the song has. I do know that in prepping for my interview and doing some research, I realized that a lot of people on the internet think that she is satan incarnate, which I can almost understand (although she was super nice and I think her new record rules).
A review I found of her new album on allmusic.com ended with the following kiss-off: "She sinks to crass, craven depths that turn One of the Boys into a grotesque emblem of all the wretched excesses of this decade." Whoa! Personally, if I was managing an early-20's female pop singer, I would encourage her to do things to further represent the "wretched excesses of this decade", if only because doing so usually means that you've hit a cultural zeitgeist vein and that would, I assume, mean $$$$, right?
A day after interviewing Ms. Perry I was at a drive-in theater in Central New York's Leatherstocking Region, in line for popcorn behind a gaggle of 12-15 year old girls, when one of their cell phones rang: and guess what the ringtone was?
I suppose a grumpier dude than myself would probably at this point go on a tirade lamenting the inevitability of the ringtone as the ultimate format of musical product in the future-- but really, is there anything more tiresome than endless discussion of musical formats? What I find funnier is that I almost stepped in to say "Hey, I talked to that woman that sings your ringtone yesterday, imagine that!"-- but it occurred to me that besides the obvious letch factor that would be involved in such a move, I would imagine that the girls would probably be pretty non-plussed anyway: who cares? Does anyone really want to know who sings that song, or what she's like, or what her musical ambitions are, etc? Do people really care about that sort of thing any more? I'm generalizing here, but still.
In talking to Ms. Perry, I asked her about her cover of The Outfield's "Your Love" (which appears as "Use Your Love" on her UR So Gay EP which preceded the actual album). My asking about this song was kind of a trap, in that I had seen a few interviews where she discussed why she covered the song: sure enough, I got a pretty canned answer that was almost word-for-word the same as this one here:
I like the part where her label told her that she had to do a cover, and I really like that she is blunt and honest enough to just tell us that her label told her that she had to do a cover. *And* that she just wanted to do a song with some kind of mass appeal. Her cover of "Your Love" is pretty awesome, she definitely makes it her own, and I can see why she left it off the album: since she considers herself a songwriter first, putting this song on the album proper would pretty much torpedo the record, since its awesomeness smokes the rest of the rekkid.
I'm sure an essay could be written about how her 80's recidivism here is in line with that decade's echoing of the "wretched excesses of this decade", but a decade ain't nothin' but a number, right.